SUWANEE, Ga. – The University of Louisville staff has made recruiting in the state of Georgia a priority under head coach Bobby Petrino, and that effort paid off once again on Tuesday.
Three-star running back Malik Staples, a talented prospect with over 20 Division One offers, was on Louisville’s campus with a pair of teammates, three-star cornerback Baylen Buchanan and junior linebacker Breon Dixon.
Buchanan is a senior corner that committed to Louisville last June, and the Cardinals are interested in Dixon as well, who sports an offer from the program.
On this trip to campus, Staples decided it was time to make his commitment and acted swiftly, informing coach Petrino of his intentions before he left campus.
“I was in coach Petrino’s office and I let him know,” Staples said. “Just being around the coaches and loving the atmosphere did it.”
Staples also boasts a close connection with the Louisville staff and cites that as another factor that prompted his commitment.
“It’s strong,” Staples says of his relationship with the UL coaches. “I really like the coaches and I could really see myself playing for them.”
At 6’1” and 205 pounds, Staples is a strong, agile running back that can hit the hole with authority and outrun a defense at the second level. These traits caused Louisville to show interest in the three-star prospect and invite him to campus initially.
“I visited before, but it was just a junior day,” Staples said. “We just looked around the weight room and stuff like that.”
Louisville has experienced a great degree of success on the recruiting trail this cycle, and the Cardinals currently have 12 committed prospects in the 2016 recruiting class. This puts Louisville 5th in the ACC and 31st in the country.
For many prospects, The Cardinals have become such a popular destination due to the staff’s ability to churn out NFL-caliber prospects. Just this past year, Louisville had a whopping 10 players to taken in the 2015 NFL Draft.
Wide receiver Eli Rogers was not one of those 10 players, but he did sign a free agent contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Rogers caught up with Scout.com’s Joey Demling to explain why it has been such an easy transition to the next level.
“I was so ready for the next level,” Rogers said. “What we did in coach Petrino’s offense got me ready for the NFL.”
“I was ready for it. I’ve really been picking everything up with ease. I’d say it’s been a lot faster than some of the others.”
Staples is the latest prospect to commit to Louisville in hopes of absorbing the same quality tutelage that Rogers received. Before he gets to Louisville, however, Staples is striving to improve his game and help elevate his high school team to a state title.
“It was going great,” Staples said of his offseason. “I’ve been working on being that beast all four quarters! I want to be a machine on the field I want to be I’m the best shape of my life to lead my team to a ring.”
In the meantime, Staples has a clear message for the Louisville fan base:
“Louisville can expect a tough physical quick an explosive back that will never back down from anything.”
Click here to watch Staples’ junior highlight reel.